Learning to play
Patience, work ethic, and determination are the keys to mastering an instrument
By Doug Kroening
As a guitar instructor, I am often asked what age parents should start their children in lessons.
That is a difficult question to answer. Every child is different. We have all seen the video of the child prodigy who can play Van Halen just as well as Van Halen.
We also need to understand that these kids are the exception to the rule.
Take an honest look at where your child is in his or her musical progression. Learning an instrument is nothing like playing a video game. It requires practice, dedication, and for most of us, a huge desire to learn.
I have had students who grasped the basics of guitar easily. Their chords came quickly, and they understood how to read music, but they did not have the “want to” and became bored with the instrument. I have also had students who struggle with every aspect of the playing process but have so much desire they eventually succeed.
If we are going to equip our kids with the means to learn an instrument, we also need to help them succeed. That means getting involved. It means setting aside allotted time for practice, and it means encouraging them every step of the way.
If your child has interest in learning, if you think they can focus, and if you can help them to follow through with what they have started, you are on the right track.
From adults, the excuse I hear given as a reason not to pick up an instrument is, “I am too old to learn.” Too old to learn? You are never too old to learn anything.
If you want to succeed, you can succeed. It takes time, patience, and determination, but you are certainly never too old to learn.
So many times I hear how much someone would like to be able to play well enough to entertain friends around the campfire. This comment is usually spoken with a dreamy sigh, eyes turned up in reflection, as if we are talking about walking on the moon.
Trust me. It is not that difficult.
If you can take the time to learn some chords, ask for a little help, and with your nose to the grindstone put in your daily practice time, these abilities will take form relatively quickly.
At least take the chance and try. You might discover a passion that you did not even know existed.